The second album from the singer Simone Stevens, Instrumentalist Gabe Rhodes and songwriter Paul Marsteller continues from where the previous album left off. Again they explore the possibilities of these songs with some adventurous production from Rhodes allied to strong arrangements, playing and writing. Stevens is again the vocal heart of these songs which have developed melodies and are strong on atmosphere. The sole outside song is a cover of Lennon/McCartney's I've Just seen A Face which scores through familiarity and being reworked into a uptempo version that has Rhodes mother Kimmie adding harmony vocals over a backing which has Tommy Spurlock's pedal steel guitar well to the fore. This track alone should gain Fiery Blue some attention. However the other songs are likely to reward repeated listening due to their overall quality. They range from the quieter songs like Half-a-Dance and The Moon And I to more drum bolstered songs like Sharpshooter and Crystal Ball. Throughout the elements come together to make Fiery Blue a positive slow burn that is not really roots music but rather playful folk-pop. Our Secret should really be an open one but as with any independent release it will need exposure to breathe.
This duo are produced by Kimmie Rhodes son and producer Gabe Rhodes who chooses a wide sonic palate in which to set these songs. The duo of Simone Stevens and Paul Marsteller are joined by such luminaries as the aforementioned Rhodes on a large variety of instruments and Hunt Sales on drums a man who has played with David Bowie and Iggy Pop in the past. The music is roots in overall tone but quite likely to take a diversion every now and then. It's all held in focus by Stevens strong, expressive vocal presence. The eighteen tracks build up a wide picture and hold attention if you slip into the fiery blue world. Some may find the album and overall tempos too similar but there is a textural substance at work here that gives the tracks added depth beneath the vocals central place in the mix. In that light this is an album where the music should be listened to in context and from that favourites will emerge but there are few tracks that stand head and shoulders above the rest of the material. But at this stage I can recommend Magic, Virtue and Diamond Ride as a trio that were memorable for there musical settings. The songs were written by Marsteller in the main with Stevens Rhodes co writing a track each. What makes this album special is the thing that makes all albums work that combination of song, playing and voice and Fiery Blue have produced an album that may never become mainstream but for those whose musical tastes expanded beyond country, in a kind of subdued "Wrecking Ball" mode then this album is worth seeking out. www.fieryblue.com